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Ironman Training – Benefits of Massage Therapy for Recovery

Jul 27, 2014

Ironman Training – Benefits of Massage Therapy for Recovery

An athletic training program has many components and massage should be one of them. Getting massages before muscles have an opportunity to seize can speed recovery time and prevent additional injuries. Athletes should begin viewing massage as essential, not a luxury or something to be indulged in on an infrequent basis. Though having a massage in only extreme circumstances will be beneficial, there is a much smarter approach.

Some athletes wait until their muscles and tendons are tight and some muscles are seizing before they seek massage therapy. This will yield a brief period of relief but regular massage therapy provides increased benefits. Athletes should work with a massage therapist experienced with sports massage. They should select a professional who asks questions and gets to know their bodies. Serious cyclists, runners, swimmers, and other athletes integrate massage therapy into their training programs.

Getting a massage after a long training session or a competition can speed recovery. By increasing blood flow to muscles, massage helps to flush metabolic waste from the body, speeding healing. During a massage, athletes also get some “down time” so they can decompress and restore the connections between body and mind.

Regular massages can help prevent or manage injuries by increasing awareness in areas of the body that are exhibiting inefficient responses or experiencing limited functioning. A massage therapist who understands the nature of a dysfunction or injury can treat an athlete appropriately using techniques within the scope of practice. Elite level athletes should have massages at least once a week, preferably twice weekly. Experts recommend that recreational athletes have massages once a week to once monthly based on their needs.

Athletes should develop relationships with their massage therapists. This allows the therapist to understand the body of the athlete and determine the type and level of massage appropriate for the training cycle or microcycle. When massage is incorporated into the workout plan throughout the year, athletes experience major benefits.

Experts recommend a massage the day before a day off or active recovery day. Recovery weeks are perfect for specific work. A pre-competition massage should be scheduled early in the week and another massage should follow immediately after a competition or within one day. To achieve the level of recovery experienced by professional athletes, enjoy a three to five-minute ice bath shortly after a competition. Self-massage using a roller stick, quad ball, foam roller, or TP massage ball is effective for preventative maintenance.

The massage therapists at Elements Massage in Castle Rock know firsthand about working with Triathletes! One of our therapists worked with athletes in Kona. Another therapist has worked with Olympian cyclists. And one of our massage therapists’ son is the fastest swimmer in Colorado! Elements Massage Castle Rock is the proud sponsor of two Triathlon clubs in Colorado – Altitude Multisport and The Rock Tri Club!

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